NiceVision Net 2.5

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Dec 06, 2011

VMS provider NICE Systems has announced version 2.5 of their NiceVision Net software. This release promises improvement in usability and performance. In this update, we'll look at these new features relative to their previous 2.0 version.

Overview

For detailed information on NICE's offereing, see our in-depth report examining its featureset. In short, NICE offers three tiers of VMS software:

  • eXpress: Supports 64 cameras and four users on a single server
  • Professional: Supports 200 cameras and 20 users on multiple servers, with some advanced feature support
  • Enterprise: Supports an unlimited number of cameras and users on an unlimited number of servers

NiceVision Net is available as either license-only, or pre-installed on their own line of NVR hardware. NICE also offers analytics packages which may either be run on the NVR, or on the edge, in their line of encoders.

Performance Enhancements

With the release of version 2.5, NICE has increased the claimed throughput handling capacity of a single server (including their high-end NVR, the SVR9810) to 512Mbps. Previous versions were capable of handling less than half of this, 200Mbps. 512Mbps essentially boils down to 128 cameras with 4Mbps streams, more than enough to run HD cameras in most applications. Few other manufacturers specify the maximum throughput capacity of their software. Genetec is one exception, which specifies a top-end limit of 300Mbps for Omnicast. 

GUI Improvements

Net 2.5 makes some improvements to the user interface:

  • Tabbed views: Users may now open tasks in multiple tabs in a single window. Camera views, investigation, and maps may be opened in separate tabs, for example, to reduce the number of open windows
  • Event management interface: NICE has completely revamped the event management interface of NetVision 2.5. The list view has been changed to more of an access control system style list, and the database engine has been rewritten to speed queries. Events are shared between operators, to allow multiple logged-in users to handle events simultaneously.
  • Resource dashboard: NICE's resource dashboard is a single screen which shows multiple system health parameters. This interface shows network, channel, and version information from connected recorders, down to the channel level, along with storage capacity, processor, and throughput information.

Mobile Client

One of the most interesting features of version 2.5 is the addition of a platform-independent mobile and web client. In addition to working in any desktop web browser, NICE's mobile client also runs on mobile web browsers, requiring no software installation. This allows it to run on iOS and Android devices, as well as Blackberry and Symbian, two platforms which rarely see mobile clients. A transcoder service provides video for these multiple devices by detecting which platform is trying to connect, and transcoding into the appropriate format. This service may be run on the NVR/VMS server if throughput is low enough, or on a separate server if more connections are required.

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ONVIF Compliance

NiceVision Net 2.5 is now ONVIF compliant. Previous version lacked this capability. NICE maintains a smaller list of integrated devices than competitive platforms. NICE claims this is because every camera listed as compatible is integrated and tested by them internally, so compatibility is guaranteed. ONVIF opens up hundreds of other devices, however, so unlisted devices may be used if users choose.

Additional Analytics

NICE has added two analytic functions to version 2.5:

  • PTZ autotracking: PTZ cameras may now be set to track and zoom in our subjects. This may be triggered either by an object entering its own field of view, or the FOV of a fixed camera or cameras. It may also be triggered by external sensors, such as fence detection or access control systems.
  • Multiple analytic functions on a single channel: In Net 2.5, users may now apply multiple analytic rules to a single channel. These rules function independantly, i.e., there is no AND gating. However, rules may be combined using NICE's event manager, so that alarms are generated only if both analytic rules are activated.

Competitive Analysis

Some of the above enhancements are potential advantages over competitive options. In large-scale systems, NICE's increased throughput handling may reduce the number of servers needed. The mobile client may also be an advantage because of its no-software-required architecture. Overall, however, we see these changes as most likely being welcomed by NICE integrators and users, but not shifting the company's overall positioning in the VMS market. 

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